hey I’m a snake

People use the metaphor of snakes shedding their skin all wrong and I hate it

Hanna Brooks Olsen

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I was a weird snake girl and a pedant. I’m still both, I guess.

This was originally published to my newsletter, Mischief Missives, which is free. I also have a newsletter about the history of mental health. You can subscribe to either, if you want.

As you are well aware by now, some people were Horse Girls. I say “people” because Horse Girl is a deceptive moniker in that it attempts to assign a childhood personality type to a single gender when in actuality, Horse Girls come in all sorts. But I — a girl who actually occasionally spent time around horses and literal horse professionals — was not really a Horse Girl.

And like, sure, I liked horses okay. I liked the smell and I enjoyed the tilty light of stables. And I had a dream of being a charra girl because have you seen those outfits? I played with My Little Ponies and had some of the other accouterments of horsiness (I would still draw blood for a pair of white fringed cowboy books like the ones I had in the 2nd grade). I had a Barbie horse — though in an oversight of engineering that I definitely attribute to a lack of women Horse Girls in STEM in the 1980s, my Barbies couldn’t actually ride on their designated Barbie horse because Barbie’s hips only moved front-to-back, which was always a distinct irritation.

Ok, yes, there IS a horse on this document that I’m displaying in my meaty little paws but that’s because the school mascot was the Mustangs.

But I wasn’t like, A Horse Girl. I was, however, a weird snake girl, which is a much more ill-defined identity.

Like my mother, an Original Recipe Snake Girl, I just thought snakes were extremely cool. I learned about them and caught them in the yard. And when I saved up enough money from my early work as a child commercial model (yes, when I was like, eight, I joined an agency in Eugene, Oregon and booked a handful of jobs including one for Foster Farms corndogs; I was, and I cannot overstate this enough, really bad at it and also kind of chubby with frizzy…

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

I wrote that one thing you didn’t really agree with.